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Germany has recognized a third gender, but trans people are not happy

Written by gaytourism

Intersex and trans groups have criticized the new law. | Photo: Facebook/Oii Deutschland

Germany has become the first European country to add a third gender option on official documents.

The move came after a Federal Constitutional Court ruling declared not having a third gender option violated a person’s individual rights and anti-discrimination laws.

The new option will be called ‘divers’ which translates to miscellaneous in English. The German government will make the new gender option available to intersex people. Until now intersex people were forced to register themselves as ‘no gender’.

Available from the end of the year the recent Cabinet decision is still waiting on parliamentary approval.

But not everybody is happy about the decision.

Trans advocates said the German government needed to make it easier for trans people to update the gender markers on official documents.

‘For trans people, nothing has changed regarding the obstacles they face to change their registered name and gender,’ Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Medical tests to prove third gender

Advocates argued that the decision would require invasive medical tests to determine if someone was intersex.

Intersex groups also criticized elements of the Bill saying it would lead to increased patholigazation of intersex people.

‘Sexual self-determination should exist only for a medically narrowly defined group of people,’ intersex organization Oii Germany wrote in a statement.

Germany will also allow newborn intersex babies to be registered as third gender on their birth certificates. In 2013, laws changed so intersex babies could be registered without gender rather than male or female.

‘No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual identity,’ said Justice Minister Katarina Barley.

Barley’s office drafted the Bill. She argued the third gender category would give intersex people a greater sense of ‘dignity and positive identity’.

Other countries to offer third gender options are Australia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, New Zealand and Canada.

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